Select AfCON players on merit – Liwewe

THE final selection of the Chipolopolo squad ahead of 2015 AfCON needs to be fully based on merit and current form, veteran soccer analyst Ponga Liwewe has said.

Liwewe observed that in the past players that made the squad were selected on past reputation rather than their current showing.

He said the technical bench needed to prepare the team adequately to meet the challenges of playing at Africa’s showpiece  football tournament.

“This requires a high level of training and drilling the individual players into a cohesive unit,” he said.

Liwewe said Zambia’s collection of players cannot match the individual quality of teams like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Algeria and Cameroon, adding that it was important that the disadvantage was nullified by the team working together as a unit.

“Group B is made of teams including Tunisia, DR Congo and Cape Verde. Based on current form, I expect Tunisia to top the group and the other three to battle for second place,” he said.

Liwewe however said DRC was always a good, skillful team but the organisation around the team tends to let it down with disharmony, differences over bonuses.

“If they improve on this front they will be a difficult prospect for any team at the tournament.

“Cape Verde are among the most improved teams in African football in recent years while Zambia is in a transition with the 2011 team being gradually replaced by younger players and much depends on how the team gels during this process,” he said. Liwewe said Chipolopolo should have been camped outside the country, away from the local distractions that tend to come in when the team camps at home.

He said when a team camps outside the country, family matters and disruptions by visitors in camp were reduced.

Liwewe said Chipolopolo needed to play as many friendly matches as possible because it was still a team that was “work-in-progress”.

“The more they play together, the more cohesive they become,” he said.